Thursday, January 26, 2012

A sense of the inevitable

As Day Three unfolded at the Adelaide Oval a certain inevitability set in,

Eventually someone in this Indian batting line up was going to pick up a century, and while you'd have started off thinking Messrs Gambhir and Tendulkar were the prime candidates, and when they'd departed it seemed fitting that the eventual ton arrived at the hands of young Mr Kohli.

There's every possibility Tendulkar will eventually get that hundredth International hundred, but reflections on this morning's walk suggested it will be more likely, and arguably more appropriately achieved, during the round of T20s and ODIs that will follow the Test Series.

It is, after all, the proliferation of limited overs matches that has brought Sachin within reach of a remarkable milestone.

Continuing that theme of inevitability, while you mightn't have thought Kohli as the most likely centurion in this Indian order his knock, and the supporting cameo from Saha was a timely reminder that there will inevitably be batting life after Messrs Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman have departed the International scene.

Lyon was going to come into calculations by picking up a top order scalp eventually, though you might have expected it to happen on Day Four or Five rather than before lunch on Three, but there you go. With  Sehwag, Dravid and Tendulkar back in the sheds, Laxman was always the most likely suspect, wasn't he?

Laxman's departure, caught behind for 18 inevitably left it to the tyros to get the score to the point where Australia would be looking to bat again to avoid a nasty little Day Five chase.

Then again barring a major collapse or rapid deterioration on the track we were probably always going to be batting again, weren't we?

And you could keep on ticking off the inevitables.

Five for to Siddle, check.

Zaheer failing to trouble the scorer, check.

A bit of niggle as the quicks locked horns, check.

Decision to bat again rather than enforce the follow on, check.

During the change of innings you'd have been offering very short odds on Ashwin coming into the attack early, and you'd have been right on the money. You mightn't have been expecting him to open the bowling, but if you're going to get him on early you might as well give him the new ball and be done with it. Inevitable? Check, I think.

That in turn saw a quick fire Three for, which will inevitably have the eraser being applied to Marsh, S. as a serious contender at Three, leaving a spot for a fit Watto and the extreme likelihood that both Ponting and Hussey will be packing their bags for the Caribbean.

On revealed form to date they're probably entitled to, though I'd rather see both given time off as we have a look at options before South Africa at home and India and England away.

So what's inevitable today?

382 runs on, you'd expect the declaration some time before drinks in the middle session, and with Clarke and Ponting at the crease with Hussey and Haddin to come you'd expect a lead of around 480 by lunch.

Bat on for a bit thereafter,to break up the track a bit more and bring the variation in bounce into the equation would seem to be the way to go, which probably means it's inevitable that Clarke will declare inside the first hour this morning, eh?

In fact, having hit the Publish button I'll probably head over to Cricinfo and discover he's declared at the overnight total...

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